Issues & Insights may be less than two-and-a-half months old, but our hard-hitting, fact-heavy analysis is being read — and recommended — within the corridors of power and influence.
Early Tuesday morning the president’s eldest son, Don Jr., retweeted to his 3.65 million Twitter followers J. Frank Bullitt’s provocative I&I editorial comparing America’s two best-known Bernies, asking which has been a better friend to the working man and woman.
It’s hardly a surprise it caught the eye of the son of a famed entrepreneur who over a period of decades has provided employment and livelihood to many thousands, within America as well as abroad. And who’s also the grandson of another. One of the Bernies “has made life better for many,” as Bullitt put it. “The other wants to suck the life out of as many as he can.”
The two Bernies, of course, are Bernie Sanders, socialist Democratic presidential candidate, and Bernie Marcus, the 90-year-old co-founder of one of the most iconic, recognizable businesses in the country, Home Depot.
With so many Americans woefully under-educated in economics, the immense good that employers do goes unappreciated and misunderstood by millions. George Gilder once compared the 1970s British Labour government’s feckless efforts to save companies by drowning them in money from the Treasury with American businessman Peter Sprague’s 1975 resurrection of the then-bankrupt Aston-Martin British sports car maker:
“One entrepreneur with energy, resolution, and charisma could turn $400,000 into a small fortune for himself and a bonanza for the economy, accomplishing more than any number of committee-bound foundations, while a government agency usually requires at least $400,000 to so much as open an office.”
Building Vs. Demolishing
Not unlike President Trump building and expanding his real estate business and branching out into casinos, golf courses and many other endeavors, Marcus and his partners in 1978 launched a firm and brand that today boasts over 2,200 stores across America and up into Canada. It all came from risking capital and working long hours with no guarantee of any success. Bullitt juxtaposed those efforts against what Bernie Sanders was up to in those days, like helping produce a propaganda film extolling Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene Debs as “the great American trade unionist, socialist and revolutionary.”
Sanders would have been lucky, even around notorious Union Square in New York City, to half-fill a movie house with true believers who found such cinematic fare watchable. Marcus’s Home Depot, on the other hand, was and still is actually helping the masses materially, today employing in excess of 400,000.
As Bullitt notes, “Since its inception, it has created millions of jobs. Home Depot also provided health care insurance for, again, millions of families whose husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers have worked for the company, now 27th on the Fortune 500 list, where it has been found every year for the last 25.”
What’s more, “vendors that depend on the company for much of their sales, many of them small businesses that have increased in value, have also created jobs as they have grown along with the chain.” On top of the millions of consumers who have benefited from Home Depot’s outside-the-old-box way of shopping, its stockholders enjoyed a 200-fold increase since its 1989 inception as a public company, and its success has allowed Marcus to donate over $2 billion of his own money to roughly 300 different good causes.
“Meet the creator. Fear the destroyer,” is how Bullitt colorfully framed the comparison, and Donald the Younger must have instantly identified with the sentiment, no doubt thinking of his father pitted against Sanders — not to mention against most of the others vying for the Democrats’ nomination, who share the bulk of Sanders’ agenda.
Like Sanders, they’re dedicated to destroying what the 45th president has done in two-and-a-half years — tax cuts, regulatory rollback, appointing non-activist judges who judge instead of make up laws — as well as demolish what Bernie Marcus and so many other entrepreneurs have built, and the good it has done the countless non-entrepreneurial Americans they employ.
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